Notices of an intended Voyage to Guinea, in 1561.
In 1561, a voyage was projected to Guinea by Sir William Gerard, knight, in conjunction with Messrs William Hunter, Benjamin Gonson, Anthony Hickman, and Edward Castelin. Only one ship, the Minion, was to have gone, and seems to have been intended to assist and bring home the Primrose and Flower de Luce, then on the coast. The command of the Minion was to have been given to John Lok, probably the same person who made the Guinea voyage in 1554, already inserted. The adventurers sent the following articles of instruction to Mr Lok, dated 8th September 1561. But Lok declined undertaking the voyage for the following reasons, dated Bristol, 11th December 1561. 1. The Minion was so spent and rotten, as to be incapable of being put into a fit and safe condition for the voyage. 2. The season was too far gone to perform the voyage in safety. 3. He understood that four large Portuguese ships were in readiness to intercept him. 4. It was quite uncertain that he should meet the Primrose, which would have completed her voyage before he could get to the coast, or would have been obliged to quit the coast by that time for want of provisions. It will be seen in the succeeding section, that the Minion actually proceeded on her voyage; on the 25th February 1562, and the unsuccessful events of that voyage fully justify the refusal of Lok.
[Footnote 283: Hakluyt, II. 514. Astl I. 176.—As this voyage did not take place, it is principally inserted here for the sake of the instructions devised by the adventurers, for the conduct of the intended expedition—E.]
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Remembrance for Mr Lok, at his Arrival on the Coast of Guinea.
When God shall bring you upon the coast of Guinea, you are to make yourself acquainted, as you proceed along the coast, with all its rivers, havens and harbours or roadsteads, making a plat or chart of the same, in which you are to insert every place that you think material, all in their true elevations. You will also diligently inquire what are the commodities to be procured it the several places you visit, and what wares are best calculated for their markets.
As it is believed that a fort on the coast of Mina or the Gold Coast of Guinea, in the King of Habaan’s country, might be extremely useful, you are especially desired to consider where such a fort could be best placed, in which you will carefully note the following circumstances.
1. That the situation be adjoining to the sea on one side, so that ships and boats may conveniently load and unload—2. What is the nature of the soil in its neighbourhood?—3. What wood or timber may be had, and in what manner it may be carried?—4. What victuals are to be procured in the country, and what kinds of our victuals are best calculated for keeping there?—5. The place must be strong by nature, or capable of being made strong at small expence, and of being afterwards defended by a small number of men.—6. How water is to be procured, if none is to be had on the ground where the fort is to stand, or at least near it?—7. What help may be expected from the natives, either in building the fort, or in defending it afterwards?